February 22, 2012

A Visit To Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport, Connecticut

Back in May of 2010, Joshua Applestone, of Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats, appeared on my television show and taught me the basics of butchering a pig.  Disturbed by what they knew of industrial-farm practices, Joshua and his wife, Jessica, opened an old-fashioned butcher shop in Kingston, New York and now also in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  The couple developed relationships with farmers who specialize in organic, pasture-raised meats.  They butcher the meat themselves, sell this great-tasting product in their shops, and in doing so, support the responsible farmers in the bargain.

Recently, I learned of Saugatuck Craft Butchery, which opened its doors last November in my former hometown of Westport, Connecticut, and is owned by Ryan Fibiger.  Fibiger started his career in finance on Wall Street and after relocating from Manhattan to Westport with his wife, Katherine, he became deeply disenchanted with the food choices in his new neighborhood.  Fibiger learned about a Butchering 101 course being taught by Joshua Applestone at his shop in Kingston.  After taking the class, Fibiger started rethinking his career path, spending his weekends as Joshua’s apprentice.  Along the way, he met Paul Nessel, who had some restaurant experience and was also deeply interested in the art butchery.  The two found a shack to rent near Kingston, which they dubbed ‘Meat Camp’, and spent an intensive eight months learning the craft.  Saugatuck Craft Butchery is a gem of a shop, which Ryan and Paul run together.  They are one of perhaps ten butcher shops in America that deal with cutting whole animals from nose-to-tail, sourcing their organic meat from local sustainable farms.  It’s also a very friendly shop with wonderful customer relations and a true sense of community.